Looking for an easy stroll, a challenging hike, or something in between? We asked Walking Cincinnati coauthor Katie Meyer to highlight her favorite area walks, ranked from least to most strenuous.
Tom Jones Commons
A newcomer to the local walking scene, Tom Jones Commons opened inside Eden Park’s original reservoir footprint in late July. A flat, paved walking loop connects a playground, shelters, and demonstration wetlands while retaining the earlier space’s basketball hoops and climbing wall.
Meyer added Ludlow to the second edition of Walking Cincinnati after getting to know the small town better. “I really love the cute, quirky business district, and the riverfront is very cool,” she says, singling out Bircus Brewing and Second Sight Spirits as creating buzz just minutes from downtown Cincinnati.
Building a new suburb from scratch on the Cincinnati-Dayton railroad line in the 1850s (one of the first U.S. planned communities), Glendale‘s founders designed curved streets to give residents the sense of living in a park. Meyer recommends walking Fountain Avenue for its architectural splendor and “amazing vibe.”
Streets reach up from Bellevue’s riverfront like fingers gripping the hillside, and all make for wonderful walks. Meyer suggests taking Van Voast Avenue, mostly so you can cross the footbridge built over railroad tracks around 1900 and rehabbed in 2003. She says it’s one of just two iron footbridges still operational in Kentucky.
Remnants of Ft. Thomas’s history as a U.S. military barracks and training center abound in Tower Park and nearby streets, from restored officer homes to the Ft. Thomas Military and Community Museum. “The city keeps the walking paths green and clean, and they’re a great DIY history tour,” says Meyer.
Buttercup Valley Preserve
The hilly natural escape of Buttercup Valley Preserve is accessible from quiet residential streets off of Hamilton Avenue as it rises from Northside’s busy business district. “The dirt trails and wooden bridges feel isolated from the city,” says Meyer. “It’s really an untouched piece of old-growth forest.”
Often reminding visitors of San Francisco, Mt. Adams’s narrow, hilly streets provide incredible views of downtown and the Ohio River. If the walk isn’t strenuous enough, try the steps up to Holy Cross-Immaculata Church. “One of my favorites,” says Meyer, “especially when you add Eden Park to your itinerary.”
Katie Meyer and Danny Korman released the second edition of Walking Cincinnati in 2019, describing and mapping 35 do-it-yourself walks in the region. Published by Wilderness Press, which specializes in outdoor hiking guides, it’s available at Roebling Point Books & Coffee and other local stores.